Thursday 31 January 2013

Weekday Mushrooms

You know I feel very strongly about eliminating kitchen waste?  

And that I like to hit the stores in the early morning to find the manager's specials?  

Well, this dish is a result of both those things.

Every weekend, I bake enough bread to get us through the week.  My fussy eater loves it, but leaves some of each loaf behind.  He won't eat the heels of the loaf and, if the bread's been out of the freezer for more than a day, he'll leave it in the bread box until it grows an unattractive blue-green beard.

It drives me crazy to throw bread away.  It feels like my hard work is going in the bin right along with the discarded slices, so I often use my food processor to grind the leftover pieces into crumbs.  I put the crumbs in the freezer and use them in my recipes.  

The other day I was at the store, and found these mushrooms on the "marked down" rack in the produce section.

They were perfectly fine, just a little brown around the edges, and they were a perfect size for stuffing.  

I brought the mushrooms home, cleaned them up and pulled my bread crumbs from the freezer.  

This is what I made:  It's a simple side dish, quick enough for a weekday supper, but tasty enough to feel like a treat.

To make Weekday Mushrooms, you'll need:

  • Several mushrooms suitable for stuffing
  • Fresh (not toasted) bread crumbs
  • Ranch dressing (I make my own using homemade yogurt, a little milk, and this seasoning mix from Tara Cooks)

Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems.  Place the mushroom caps on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Chop the stems into a fine dice.

Combine the chopped stems with a roughly equal quantity of breadcrumbs.  

Add in enough ranch dressing to moisten the mixture enough so that it holds together when lightly pressed between your fingers. 

Divide the filling between the mushroom caps, packing it just enough so that it stays in place.

Bake the stuffed mushrooms in a 400F oven until they're cooked through and the crumbs are golden brown. (This takes about 20 minutes in my oven.)

Serve immediately.